Three candidates have stepped up to fill a spot on the Tempe Union High School District’s governing board, vacated last month by longtime member Mary Frances Lewis.
Don Keuth, current president of the district’s education foundation board; David Klecka, former teacher and coach at Mountain Pointe High School; and Scott Norton, an emeritus professor of Arizona State University all submitted paperwork expressing their interest to Sandra Dowling, superintendent of Maricopa County schools.
The three will be interviewed next week and Dowling will make her decision by early August, said Hope Olguin, elections specialist for the county. Dowling’s appointee will serve until the November election, when voters choose who will serve on the board the next four years.
Keuth, who ran for the governing board in 2002 and 2004, said if he is chosen he would like to focus on the district’s finances.
“Money is the key in being able to offer good quality programs and a comparable salary schedule to get and retain the best teachers,” said Keuth, who is president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on the redevelopment of central Phoenix.
Keuth said he plans to run for Lewis’ open seat in the November election, regardless if he’s chosen for the interim position.
Klecka, currently an insurance agent in Tempe, said the other candidates can’t match his history with the district.
“I basically grew up in the Tempe Union High School District, was a teacher, a coach and a part-time administrator,” he said.
He plans to run for election in the fall even if he isn’t chosen by Dowling. He said his goal is to bring the community, teachers and students together.
Norton has an extensive résumé that includes serving as superintendent of a Kansas school district in 1965, a visiting professor at eight different colleges and publishing books on various education topics. He’s not sure if he will run in the November election if he isn’t chosen for the interim position.
“My total career has centered around schools and working with school boards,” Norton said.
Lewis announced her resignation from the board in May, citing increased restrictions on elected office holders and a desire to put her family first. She served on the board from 1978 to 2002 and again starting in 2004.